Minutes of 3/30/04 SCC meeting—Wesleyan University, 7-9 pm
- Tolland chapter: Sue Chipman; Tim McKee
- Northeast chapter: Jean deSmet, Ken Humphrey
- Central Connecticut chapter: Steve Krevisky
- Hartford chapter: Barbara Barry DeRosa, Mike DeRosa, Rob Pandolfo, Ed DuBrule, Albert Marceau
- Shoreline chapter: Sarah Williams
- New London chapter: Andy Derr, Chris Nelson
- Western chapter: Rachel Goodkind, Brooks Kelley, John Battista
- Northwest chapter: Elizabeth Brancato; Tom Sevigny; Kim Herkimer; Judy Herkimer (voting for the Women’s Caucus; not voting for the Northwest chapter)
- Fairfield chapter: David Bedell
- New Haven chapter: Charlie Pillsbury
No representative was present from the Southeast nor the West Hartford chapters.
- Introductions/identify chapter reps, recruit stacker and timekeeper. Identification of chapter reps was not specifically done. Judy served as stacker. Steve served as timekeeper.
- Adopt groundrules—adopted by consensus.
- Approval of tonight’s proposed agenda/additions and deletions
- Comments/approval of February SCC minutes—approved by consensus.
Treasurer’s report. Ed DuBrule read the following report from the treasurer, Bob Eaton, dated 3/27/04:
“In the past year we spent over $2,000 more than we took in.
“Our current bank balance is $2,494.41 with estimated receipts of $185 and obligations next month to be at least $1,423.11 for a balance at the end of next month estimated at $1,000.00 Besides the ongoing expenses we have an insurance obligation coming up soon that I estimate as $1,700.00. Further I estimate we will have a negative balance of $1,000.00 by the end of July if we DON’T incur additional expenses.
“At this point we need more money just to stay in the black.
“Before next month’s SCC meeting I will send out more information on what our financial situation has been this past year and where it looks to be going in the future. Please talk among the members of your chapter about what you feel are the priorities for how the Connecticut Green Party spends its money.
“As the CT Green Party grows we need to do things in a more organized manner much as a small company run out of someone’s garage has to change when they grow to have many employees. I think we should try to come up with a budget that is approved by the party so we have clear goals for what we do with the limited funding we have. Don’t pay for things expecting to be reimbursed if the expenses have not been approved. We need to come up with a fiscal policy. I will be communicating more on this in the coming month.
“I’m hopeful that with more communication of the party finances we can come up with some ways to save money. At the same time I think it makes sense to spend more money in an effort to raise more money. Hopefully we will come together so we can support Green Party candidates across the state to help put more greens in office.”
Charlie pointed out that one sentence in the above treasurer’s report begins “I think we should try to come up with a budget ....” Charlie said that he’s never belonged to an organization without a budget, and that the Executive Committee should be encouraged to come up with a budget.
- [First item of business per decision of February SCC meeting] Approval of nominations for appointments to national committees. By consensus, David Eliscu was approved to serve on the national Diversity Committee/Caucus; Justine McCabe was approved to serve on the national Platform Committee; and Tom Sevigny was approved to serve on the Coordinated Campaign Committee (CCC). David Bedell has been updating the national Greens website with Connecticut campaign information. In effect, he has been serving as Connecticut’s “liaison” person who the CCC can contact to find out about state/local campaigns. By consensus David Bedell was approved to serve in this liaison person. [Secretary’s note: I have received contradictory information as to whether SCC approval of the liaison person is necessary.] [Secretary’s note: Tom will not serve on the CCC until the national Coordinating Committee elects him at a meeting in June.]
proposal on SCC quorum bylaws revision (Appendix 1) (New London chapter)
Andy presented the proposal. He reminded us that last month a proposal to change the bylaws to require a simple majority (greater than 50%) of chapters for a quorum at SCC meetings failed to win SCC approval. The bylaws currently require 75% of chapters. The proposal tonight calls for 2/3 (66%) of chapters.
The current bylaws read “Attendance by at least one representative of three quarters or more all of Chapters shall be required.....” Tonight’s proposal reads “Attendance by representatives of at least of two thirds or more of all Chapters shall be required....” One attendee proposed amending tonight’s proposal to read “Attendance by AT LEAST ONE REPRESENTATIVE of two thirds or more of all chapters shall be required....” Andy accepted this amendment.
Andy stated that the reason for the change from 3/4 to 2/3 would be to deal with the situation of SCC meetings not reaching a quorum in the recent past. A representative from the Northwest chapter said that members of her chapter had thought that perhaps this situation was temporary. Furthermore, members of the Northwest chapter had expressed the opinion that amending the quorum requirement would be better done by the bylaws committee.
The section of the bylaws which deals with amending the bylaws is as follows. (I have added bullets, in the form of double asterisks [**], for clarity.)
**Any Chapter may, provided two thirds of its full membership concur, propose to the State Central Committee amendments or changes to the Party Bylaws.
**The State Central Committee shall refer the proposal to all active Chapters for review and recommendations. Each Chapter may, by a two thirds majority of its full membership, recommend rejection, State Central Committee approval, or submittal of the proposal to the next following Party Convention for consideration of the full membership.
**If two thirds of the Chapters recommend approval, the State Central Committee may enact the change or refer it for Convention action. If Convention action is called for, members in good standing but unable to attend the Convention shall each be entitled to vote by absentee ballot.
The SCC tonight decided by consensus to refer the proposal to all active Chapters for review and recommendations. Thus, according to the bylaws excerpt immediately above, chapters are to recommend rejection of the proposal, SCC approval of the proposal, or submittal of the proposal to the next Convention.
There was discussion of the requirement in the bylaws that “Each Chapter may, by a two thirds majority of its full membership, recommend ....” Ed spoke of the lists of up to hundreds of names of Green Party members submitted for the recent internal elections—Green Party “members” according to the bylaws’ definition of member. He wondered if chapters had to poll all these names. He wondered if chapters might in practice choose instead to just see if two thirds of the attendees of one chapter meeting agreed with the bylaws change. Jean said that chapters can define their membership any way they want.
It is to be noted that two thirds of the chapters must recommend approval to proceed to the next step of bylaws revision (which might be enactment of the change by the SCC at the April SCC meeting). It was suggested that chapters submit their approval (or disapproval) of this change to the secretary before the SCC meeting (e-mail Ed at edubrule at sbcglobal dot net). This would be done to avoid the situation where a chapter had acted on this proposal but its action was unknown to the April SCC meeting because a representative of that chapter was not present at the April SCC meeting.
Action Plan, revised (Appendix 2) (Western chapter) John Battista presented; Tom Sevigny (who had helped write the Action Plan) also participated in the discussion.
Appendix 2 contains the following section from the Action Plan proposal:
Committee meetings (with the exception of committees formed at the state level to resolve disputes, i.e., Process Committee, Expanded Process Committees, and Resolution Committees), including conference calls, should be announced at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting via the CTGP announcement listserve and the CTGP website.
Barbara pointed out that the above section indicates that committees formed to resolve disputes need not provide 48 hours advance notice of their meetings. Rachel said that the reasoning was that such meetings need not be announced because they’re closed (not open to observers), according to another section of the Action Plan proposal:
Observers: Committee meetings will be open to all CTGP members (with the exception of committees formed at the state level to resolve disputes).
Barbara said that even committees formed to resolve disputes should be required to announce their meetings 48 hours in advance, so that Greens will know that these committees are meeting, and how frequently. Charlie said that if the conflict resolution committees failed to meet and do their job, the SCC would eventually hear of the problem from a person who filed a complaint, or a person referred to in such a complaint. Jean proposed an amendment to delete the phrase “(with the exception of committees formed at the state level to resolve disputes, i.e., Process Committee, Expanded Process Committees, and Resolution Committees)“ from the paragraph on 48 hours advance notice. John, Rachel, and Brooks (all from the Western chapter) accepted this amendment. It was pointed out that this change does NOT mean that committees formed at the state level to resolve disputes are open to observers; it just means that such committees must announce their meetings at least 48 hours in advance.
Another section of the Action Plan proposal states:
Committees will keep minutes or a summary of each committee meeting. The minutes or summary will be made available for review at the request of any CTGP member.
Ed wondered whether it would be appropriate for conflict resolution committees to keep minutes. Another attendee said that such minutes could just indicate that discussion of a particular complaint had occurred, and that the report was being prepared. John wondered whether Process Committee minutes should report a rejected complaint in its minutes. Another attendee said that such minutes could simply report that a complaint was rejected, without giving details of the complaint. John said that such a complaint might be completely without merit and perhaps the person complained against should be protected from being reported as the subject of a baseless accusation. Charlie pointed out that a report from the Ad Hoc Process Committee (aka Conflict Resolution Committee) evaluating one year’s experience with the conflict resolution process was due to be presented to the April 2004 SCC meeting.
The facilitator determined that consensus as to passage of the amended Action Plan proposal did not exist. Therefore a vote was held. The Action Plan, as amended, passed (yes accept amended Plan—16 votes; no—1 vote; abstain—1 [Charlie Pillsbury, who was facilitating the meeting, abstained]).
REPORTS AND ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION
Presidential Election Committee. John Battista reported. Greens are encouraged to return the questionnaire (survey) put out by this committee; comments are encouraged. The questionnaire was written before Nader’s letter to the USGP National Steering Committee, in which Nader says that he’s not seeking nor accepting the Green Party nomination. Nader further says that if the national Greens do not choose a presidential candidate at the Milwaukee convention, he would welcome our endorsement (and the endorsement of other third parties as well). Nader also seemed to say, in this letter (although the letter is not clear) that he would run on a Green Party ballot line in some states. (Tom pointed out that states have widely-varying laws on parties putting candidates on ballot lines.)
The results of the questionnaire will be reported to the April SCC meeting. The results will bear on how the delegates Connecticut sends to the Milwaukee convention will vote.
**The office of the Registrars of Voters, in the State of Connecticut, is an elected position....
**Registrars also ensure the proper maintenance of all the voting machines. ... “
**“Connecticut General Statutes: Sec. 9-190 ... Each registrar of voters shall reside in the town and district for which he is elected.
**... in each municipality in which registrars of voters are elected, no elector shall vote for more than one registrar of voters....
**The candidate having the highest number of votes and the candidate having the next highest number of votes for the office of registrar of voters, who does not belong to the same political party as the candidate having the highest number, shall be declared elected registrars of voters for the municipality or district, provided, if the candidate for registrar of voters of a major party is not one of the registrars so elected, such candidate of such major party shall also be declared elected registrar of voters.
Charlie said that the New Haven chapter may be collecting signatures to run a candidate (Calvin Nicholson) this November for City of New Haven registrar of voters. If a city has an electorate which votes predominantly for Democrats, a Green might relatively easily win a registrar of voters position (all the Green would need to do would be to earn more votes than the Republican candidate). In such a scenario, per the excerpt above, the Democratic candidate, the Green candidate, and also the Republican candidate would all take office as registrars of voters. Mike asked if the City of New Haven would pay three registrars of voters (that is, would the Republican registrar in this scenario be paid). Charlie did not know the answer to Mike’s question.
The number of signatures the New Haven chapter will need to collect to qualify Calvin is relatively low—it’s based on the number of people who cast a vote for registrar of voters.
Charlie said that one motivation for running a candidate for registrar of voters would be to ensure expansion of the voting rolls. Registrars of voters now in office may not work ambitiously to hold registrations session and expand the voting rolls. Tim raised the issue of Greens in Rhode Island having been mis-registered as “unaffiliated“—having a Green in office might diminish this problem. (Having Greens properly registered as “Greens“ would be important if the Green Party held a primary.)
Andy said that in New London he believed that registrars of votes were appointed; this may be in violation of state law, judging by the excerpts above.
Elections Committee report. David Bedell reported. He distributed a list of “uncontested“ races for the Connecticut legislature in 2002—races for state senator or state rep that only had a Republican candidate or only had a Democratic candidate. (Some of these “uncontested“ races, he noted, were contested by Greens, Working Families, or independent candidates.) 33% of state reps ran unopposed by the other major party in 2002. In Greenwich, three state reps and one state senator, all Republican, all ran unopposed in 2002 (and also in 2000). There apparently are unspoken agreements among Democrats and Republicans that allow these kinds of situations to exist.
David has looked primarily at election data in Fairfield County. He said that “it’s always worthwhile running a candidate“. (He apparently meant by this, for example, that even a candidate who loses has raised issues or helped build a political party.) He did say, however, that some people don’t want to be seen as losers. A candidate could run a vigorous, multi-issue campaign for office; or a candidate could run on essentially a single issue; or a candidate could merely “stand for office“ (not put much effort into the campaign).
David contacted activists (such as activists on anti-nuclear issues or activists on open space issues) and discussed with them the possibility of their running for office on the Green Party ballot line. He pointed out to them that such a candidacy would give their issue publicity; that media would publish their positions. The Green Party could help them collect the necessary signatures to run for office. Last year the SCC came up with a list of affiliated organizations; Greens should reach out to activists in these organizations. The Green Party could serve as the “electoral wing“ for our affiliated organizations.
The deadline to submit signatures is August 4. The number of signatures required is 1% of the number of people for voted for that office in the last election (so perhaps a candidate for state rep would need to submit 200 signatures).
Political buttons can be made for 30 cents each and sold for $1 to raise campaign funds.
The Fairfield chapter so far has plans to run a board of education candidate and three state senate candidates.
Tom announced that the Connecticut Green party will hold a campaign school with Lynne Serpe, a long-time Green Party activist and grassroots campaign expert. The school will be held the last Sunday in April at a time and place to be announced. David Bedell also spoke of a Women’s Campaign School to be held on the Yale campus.
September 8 is the deadline for the Connecticut Green Party to endorse its candidates.
Mike said that it is important to recruit candidates; it also is important to recruit campaign managers.
- Conflict resolution committees report—no report given, except as noted above (report of Conflict Resolution Committee will be given to April SCC meeting)
- Communication Committee. Judy Herkimer reported. Work continues on “one-stop shopping“—people going to the CTGP website will be able to easily access listserves, bulletin boards, chat rooms, committee information, etc.
- Diversity Committee. Rob reported. The planned March 16 meeting got snowed out; will try again in April—will discuss goals for 2004.
- Women’s Caucus—working on date for another in-person meeting
VOTER. Mike reported. Three bills favored by the VOTER coalition have been reported favorably out of committee in the Connecticut legislature. These are: bill 123 (concerning ballot access for minor parties—its passage could mean that Greens would never have to submit petition signatures again to run for office); bill 127 (concerning need to submit petition signatures after redistricting); and bill 388 (“paper trail”—voting machines should provide a printed record of votes cast). VOTER met with Moira Lyons (Speaker of the House). Greens should contact their legislators to support these three bills. The CT secretary of state reversed herself and now supports bill 388 (paper trail) and also reversed herself and supports instant runoff voting.
There has also been a bill addressing campaign finance reform and providing funds for running a campaign. There have been reports, however, that this bill has little chance of passage.
If bill 123 passes, the Green Party should attempt to register lots more voters as Greens. We had approximately 2000 registered Greens in Connecticut (though some of these probably switched their registration to vote in Democratic primaries recently). We would need 5000 to 6000 registered Greens if bill 123 passes.
- Report of US Green Party reps. Tom reported. Mississippi will soon be the 43rd accredited state Green Party. Connecticut is entitled to 15 voting delegates at the Milwaukee national Green Party presidential convention to be held June 23-28. Tom read the list of 12 people who have said they want to go to Milwaukee. If you’d like to be a delegate, contact Tom. Proxy voting is still being debated (for if the entire delegation from a state can’t attend the convention). Steve Krevisky (newly elected as a USGP rep via our internal elections) said that he has begun his work and is now on the necessary national listserves.
—New London chapter (Andy Derr)—held discussions after this SCC meeting on possibly running a candidate to oppose Congressperson Simmons.
—Northwest chapter (Judy Herkimer)—Cornwall Green selectperson Ken Keskinen is a proponent of same-sex marriages, and justices of the peace are known who are willing to perform the ceremonies, but the town clerk won’t issue licenses for same-gender couples
—Western chapter (Rachel Goodkind)—showed video “Third Party“ (co-produced by former Tolland Chapter Green Michael Burns) and showed video on September 11. Rachel has copies of these videos available for purchase.
—Hartford chapter (Mike DeRosa)—showed video on the Venezuelan coup attempt against Hugo Chavez (the filmmaker observed the events as they occurred).
—Love Makes a Family campaign to identify pro-gay marriage voters (report by Andy). Over the next year-and-a-half Love Makes a Family will conduct the Equality Knocks campaign, meant to identify 15,000 pro-gay marriage voters. The data will be shown to legislators. Love Makes a Family PAC money will be used in legislative races. Love Makes a Family will be doing training—Groton (April 24), Danbury (May), Norwich (May), Hartford (July). Contact Andy or visit the Love Makes a Family website.
—Tom is working on plans to have Matt Gonzalez (nearly elected mayor of San Francisco as a Green) come to Yale and come to a fundraiser for the CTGP.
Appendix 1. Proposal on bylaws change—quorum of SCC meeting
Green Party Meeting Proposal Form
PRESENTER (committee, chapter(s) or group of individuals):
New London chapter
CONTACT (name, address, phone number, email):
Andy Derr, 16 Cliff Street, New London, CT 06320, 860-437-8826, amderr at mail dot ctol dot net
SUBJECT (10 words or less):
Changing the by-laws regarding quorum at State Central Committee meetings.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE (100 words or less; include relationship, reasons and/or justification to the State Central Committee):
We are requesting this change in the bylaws because the SCC has been unable to get a quorum four of the last five meetings and has, therefore, been unable to meet. Many people travel long distances to get to the meetings only to find that we don’t have a quorum and cannot vote. During the winter icy road conditions can keep chapter representatives from attending. Changing to a two thirds quorum will ensure that the party can function efficiently on a monthly basis. Compared to many other organizations, a quorum of three quarters seems too high.
PROPOSAL (200 words or less):
The current bylaws regarding quorums for the State Central Committee read as follows:
Party Structure & Functions
Attendance by at least one representative of three quarters or more of all Chapters shall be required for formal consideration of any significant motion or proposal, and a majority vote of the representatives present shall be required for approval.
We propose changing this bylaw to read:
Attendance by representatives of at least of two thirds or more of all Chapters shall be required for formal consideration of any significant motion or proposal, and a majority vote of the representatives present shall be required for approval.
Appendix 2 Action Plan (approved by the Western chapter) (received from Tom Sevigny 3/21/04)
ACTION PLAN GREEN PARTY OF CT 2003-2004
- FINANCIAL DIVISION
- MEDIA COMMITTEE
- MERCHANDISE/PAMPHLETS COMMITTEE
- DIVERSITY COMMITTEE
- ELECTIONS COMMITTEE
- PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS COMMITTEE
- LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE
- PLATFORM/POLICY COMMITTEE
- BYLAW, RULES, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES (BRPP)
- INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE
- INTERNAL ELECTIONS COMMITTEE
- RESOLUTION COMMITTEE
The intent of this Action Plan is to organize the work of the Green Party of CT (CTGP) through function-specific Committees within five Divisions, thereby allowing monthly State Central Committee (SCC) meetings to become more report and decision oriented.
Under this Action Plan, each Executive Committee member would act as a liaison for a specific division or portfolio, with, for example, the treasurer gravitating toward the financial division and the secretary gravitating toward the internal division.
In order to maximize the integrity and productivity of these Committees, this Action Plan recognizes that Committees must be free to meet when and in whatever form agreed upon by their members (i.e., in-person, email, teleconference), and which is consonant with their function. However, to encourage CTGP member participation and enhance solidarity among committee members, the SCC suggests that in-person meetings be held semi-annually.
By Agreement of the SCC, the following general rules apply to Action Plan Committees except for committees that have been established by the SCC for a special purpose requiring a restricted membership:
Advance Notification of Committee Meetings:
Committee meetings (with the exception of committees formed at the state level to resolve disputes, i.e., Process Committee, Expanded Process Committees, and Resolution Committees), including conference calls, should be announced at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting via the CTGP announcement listserve and the CTGP website. [Secretary’s note: the underlined sentence in this paragraph was deleted by an amendment—see minutes above]
Committee Meeting Minutes:
Committee meetings will be open to all CTGP members (with the exception of committees formed at the state level to resolve disputes).
Guidelines for Committee Structure and Process:
To encourage efficiency, accountability, and a division of labor among committees over time, the SCC suggests the following guidelines for Committee process and function:
- That each Committee elect a chairperson/convener for a specific tenure (e.g., a year), who will be responsible for organizing/announcing meetings, for keeping committee members on task, and for communicating the progress of the committee to the CTGP Executive Committee/SCC/CTGP members;
- That each Committee elect a secretary/minutes keeper, for a specific tenure, to record the workings of the Committee;
- That each Committee develop goals/plan and a timetable (e.g., a year) for accomplishing these.
- Given the considerable potential work facing each of the Committees, that individual CTGP members consider limiting their membership in Committees in such a way as to balance diversity, novelty and interest with the capacity to sustain participation, acquire experience and maximize Committee output over time. The hope is to gradually develop democratic CTGP structures that are sturdy and flexible, with increasing capacities to set and achieve goals.